Some time back, possibly even a decade ago in what seems like another life, I interviewed the brilliantly talented French actress-filmmaker-musician Julie Delpy, who told me that 90% of French films are unwatchable. France’s international reputation for great cinema is based on the best of that other 10%. I suspect that French music also works on the same ratio. Some may argue that it is cultural/language differences that accounts for that music not travelling beyond its borders. When I lived in Italy I would often complain about how terrible the local music was, and their usual reaction was that I didn’t understand the words, which I did. To which I countered that they didn’t understand the words in British and American music, but loved it anyway, because it was great music, and for the most part the words were nonsense. I bring this up because Permanent Vacation held an evening of French psych/shoegaze music at The Victoria in Dalston on 25 January 2018.
Both bands on the bill were actually Anglo-French, being primarily French but based in London, and I suspect they were here partly because their music was more accepted here. And, yes, most of the songs were in French, which I don’t understand, but the music was great, with La Houle playing dreamy shoegaze and Julien Gasc and his band going for something more poetic, with a solid psych backing.